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SP photojournalist Michelle Berg receives four national nominations

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Berg received four nominations in three categories for the News Photographers Association of Canada's annual Pictures of the Year awards.

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Because of her broad range of work, Saskatoon StarPhoenix photographer Michelle Berg has been nominated four times in three categories for the News Photographers Association of Canada's annual Pictures of the Year awards.

Berg, who has more than a decade of experience at the StarPhoenix, is nominated once each in the “Photo Report News” and “Photo Report Feature” categories and twice in the “Multimedia” category.

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Her nomination for photo coverage focused on the final days of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix building. The newsroom had been empty since lockdowns began due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Journalists thought they would eventually return to their newsroom, but when parent company Postmedia decided to put the building up for sale, reporters began working from home permanently — and staff had to find a home for archives dating back to 1902.

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Weston Davidson has his drop barrel set up right next to the door so he remembers to ride it every day to train his muscle memory when he mounts a bull. Photo taken in Strongfield, Sask., Oct. 25, 2023. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Her picture story was about Saskatchewan native Weston Davidson's lifelong passion for bull riding. He won his first trophy at age two while riding a sheep. Twenty years later, he regularly rides 2,000-pound bulls, but his enthusiasm has not changed.

Berg received two nominations in the multimedia category, one for her entry Born to Ride about Davidson and the other titled The Final Five, which features the last five operators of the famous StarPhoenix printing plant. Since the building closed, StarPhoenix is ​​now printed at a factory in Estevan.

“Michelle’s well-deserved recognition underscores her incredible skill and talent behind the camera, no matter the subject or situation,” said Dave Deibert, city editor of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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“She has an incredible ability to make her subjects feel comfortable and then capture them for the reader through her lens.”

The winners are expected to be announced on Sunday.

The Saskatoon StarPhoenix newsroom is being disbanded as reporters have one week left to pack up as they will now work entirely from home. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
The Saskatoon StarPhoenix newsroom is being disbanded as reporters have one week left to pack up as they will now work entirely from home. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Berg has previously been honored for her work at the national level.

In 2021, she won NPAC awards in three categories. She took first place in the Featured Photo Story category, second in the Single Multimedia category, and third in the Sports Action category.

Berg's first national award nomination came in 2017, when she was nominated for the multimedia award for her work on the People Project feature about Iona Whipp. For Pride Week, Berg wanted to capture the transformation of a drag queen. Berg was there when Aron DoSouto transformed into Iona, a two- to three-hour process.

Last year, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the breaking news photography category for an image she took during an arrest by Saskatoon police following a standoff.

Earlier this year, StarPhoenix reporter Julia Peterson was nominated for an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists, which annually recognizes the best journalism in the country.

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Peterson is nominated for the 2023 APTN/CAJ Truth and Reconciliation Award for a portfolio of stories that celebrate and respect the lives of Two-Spirit people in Saskatchewan and is part of a larger series titled Prairie Pride.

The CAJ Awards will be held on June 1 in Toronto.

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